Solution: Daily Problem Practice [Modern India: Week 28]- 22 April

Solution: Daily Problem Practice [Modern India: Week 28]- 22 April

Q. Despite Panchsheel, continued differences between the two nations led to the Indo-Sino War in 1962. Comment. [20 Marks]


Panchsheel was the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence between India and China signed in 1954 by Indian Prime Minister Nehru with China. Five principles were:

  1. Mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
  2. Mutual non-aggression.
  3. Mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.
  4. Equality and cooperation for mutual benefit.
  5. Peaceful co-existence.

Jawaharlal Nehru based his vision of resurgent Asia on friendship between the two largest states of Asia; his vision of was governed by the ethics of the Panchsheel, which he initially believed was shared by China, came to grief after Indo-China War in 1962.

Background of Indo-China War:

India and China had boundary disputes China claimed 104,000 km² of territory over Indian territory and demanded rectification of the entire border.

Boundary dispute in western part

The government of India used the Johnson Line as the basis for its official boundary in the west, encompassing Aksai Chin. During the 1950s, China built a road connecting Xinjiang and western Tibet which ran south of the Johnson Line through the Aksai Chin region claimed by India. The Indian position, as stated by prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, was that the Aksai Chin was “part of the Ladakh region of India for centuries”. The Chinese minister, Zhou Enlai argued that the western border had never been delimited, that the Macartney-MacDonald Line, which left the Aksai Chin within Chinese borders was the only line ever proposed to a Chinese government, and that the Aksai Chin was already under Chinese jurisdiction.

Boundary dispute in eastern part

In 1959, Chinese premier Zhou Enlai wrote to Nehru, rejecting Nehru’s contention that the border was based on treaty and custom and pointing out that no government in China had accepted as legal the McMahon Line, which in the 1914 Simla Convention defined the eastern section of the border between India and Tibet during British Rule. China did not consider Tibet sovereign so treaty settling boundary invalid.

Asylum to Dalai Lama

Besides border disputes, the relations of China and India were further strained on the question of giving asylum to Dalai Lama (spiritual head of the Tibetan people). Right from 1959 owing to large-scale demolition of Buddhist monasteries and confiscation of lands, the Chinese had caused discontent among the Tibetans. In the revolt of the Tibetans, certain insurgents together with Dalai Lama to India. The entry of Dalai Lama was accepted. This infuriated China.

From 1959, in a process that accelerated in 1961, Nehru adopted the “Forward Policy” of setting up military outposts in disputed areas of the Sino-Indian border. China attacked some of these outposts. Amidst such tensions, the Chinese suddenly started a full-scale invasion in 1962. It was a rude shock to Nehru and Panchsheel Principle. The Indian military was unprepared and also unequipped. Both USA and the Soviet extended token help as they were busy with the Cuban Missile crisis.

India lost, and China withdrew to pre-war lines in eastern zone at Tawang but retained Aksai Chin.


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